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11 Ways to Succeed at Work During Turbulent Times

January 27, 2019

The past decade has been characterized by volatility. A near global financial meltdown in 2008, followed by The Great Recession (the worst economic slowdown since The Great Depression) and anemic recoveries in most Western countries, has also seen the longest continuous bull stock market in history, which has lasted for ten years. The U.S. and Canadian economies finally gained traction, driving down unemployment. The housing markets have been strong, benefitting from low interest rates. However, the winds are starting to change.

Major technological advancements in telecommunications, new trading competitors, and rapidly changing geo-political events have contributed to turning the traditional organizational model on its head. That’s not to ignore the virtual disappearance of the sacred employment contract between employers and workers. Job security is now a dinosaur, even in the once-safe public sector. This conflicts with the low (official) unemployment rates, raising concern with central banks (notably Canada) on rising consumer indebtedness.

As the American humorist Will Rogers once said: “It’s not what we don’t know that hurts, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”

This aptly applies to our current economic turmoil and the uncertainty of what’s in store for economies around the world in the months and years to come. The forecasts pre-2008 financial meltdown were naive, and those following The Great Recession were ill founded. And in the early stage in 2019, there’s no shortage of opinions and predictions from economists, stock and bond market analysts, bankers, and the like.

In short, no one has a clue, especially economists, whose track records are generally miserable.

There are numerous events of which we have no control over. However, there are things we do control. By focusing on these we’ll be able to improve our performance at work, build better relationships with co-workers, and reduce our stress levels. Take a moment to reflect on the following 11 ways to succeed at work.

1. Tell the truth to superiors, to one another and to ourselves.

2. Live our lives with integrity, being consistent with what we say and do at home, at work, and in our communities.

3. Ignore those who attempt to infect us with their cynicism.

4. Take responsibility for our own learning and personal growth.

5. Initiate change at work for the betterment of our organizations.

6. Persevere in making our organizations better places in which to work.

7. Lead balanced lives between work and home.

8. Be inclusive leaders, actively ensuring that others have the opportunity to lead.

9. Be followers, knowing when it is time to move to the side.

10. Celebrate our accomplishments.

And when you fail at any of these elements, don’t forget the 11th one:
 Don’t give up, keep trying.

What would you also add to this list?

To thrive in a world of change and chaos, we will need to accept chaos as an essential process by which natural systems, including organizations, renew and revitalize themselves.
— Kevin McCarey (Leadership and the New Science)

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